[EDITORIALS]Old-style politics continues

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[EDITORIALS]Old-style politics continues

The current 17th National Assembly has 299 members. Of them, 187, or 62.5 percent, are first-time lawmakers. The reason that the 17th Assembly has so many first-timers is because of the people’s hope for new politics. The people were fed up with the old politics of cronyism.
But the scene we observed at the Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee Monday was no different from the old-style politics. Actually, it was worse. Physical altercations and abusive language were common Monday. Moreover, we saw a bill being presented without the committee chairman and gavel. We even saw the secretary of a lawmaker being slapped in the face.
Monday’s protagonists were all first-time lawmakers. They were those who have ardently argued for political reform. They were not ashamed of the fight: one side clapped and cheered for what they did and the other side shouted four-letter words. Each said it was right and the other was wrong. This is what we call Korean politics.
Yesterday, Uri Party floor leader Chun Jung-bae said the party will postpone handling its bill to abolish the National Security Law this year. He suggested opening nationwide discussions on the bill.
We believe, however, that Mr. Chun’s suggestion does not have merit. Whether it is a bill to abolish or revise the security law, it will have to be presented again at an extra session of the National Assembly.
Mr. Chun said his party’s Monday effort to present the bill, which ended up in a melee, was to vitalize the abolition of the security law. We do not understand Mr. Chun’s logic. How can abusive language and scuffles serve to vitalize the plan to abolish the security law? We believe his remarks debase the public and the procedures and dignity of the Assembly. If it was a “show” staged by the Uri Party for its own political purposes, then it is really frightening.
The nation is confronted by problems, both domestic and international. The governing and opposition parties will have to make a rational choice. They should listen to the advice of the Assembly speaker, who asked for cooperation. The opposition Grand Nationals will also have to provide an alternative if they are opposed to the bill. We ask the two parties to set up a schedule for a special session and discuss the bill according to legitimate procedure and agreement.
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